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Orland Park Pioneers
program hitting its stride

By Ed Muniz

 

The conclusion of the National Football League's Super Bowl festivities signifies the last hurrah of the football season. That allows for time to reflect on the things that really will be remembered from this football year.
 
For the Orland Park Pioneers, 2014 produced an unprecedented campaign. President John Stefanos and his staff will bask in a level of success never previously experienced. And it could help propel the Pioneers football and cheer program to even greater heights.
 
The football side saw the Pioneers compete in four title games and crown the Pee Wee A and Junior Varsity teams as champions. The later completed back-to-back title runs and won 25-straight games before a November loss at the National Youth Championships in Florida.
 
“This is absolutely incredible the year our program had” said Stefanos. “I can’t recall ever having two teams in the championships and to have four competing in this league? Just incredible!
 
"It truly speaks of the hard work and commitment we get from everyone involved from the coaches, players, volunteers and most of all, the parents. Our successes this year are the result of everyone involved working together. 
 
"I couldn’t be more proud. And it shows as a program we are heading in the right direction.” 
 
The cheer side of the organization also had a great year under coordinator Kim Dombrowski. She beamed after the girls' performances at the cheer competition. 
 
After a 2013 season that saw the Pioneers carry home five first place trophies, the anxiety from expectations to match or surpass their success was evident from the very first practice.
 
When all the tabulating of scores were done this season, the Pioneers held their own and even surpassed some expectations. Carrying home three team titles and two runner-up finishes wasn’t as dominant as last year but in other ways their performances stood  out more.
 
The Pioneers took home the top three overall team scores. The eighth graders led the way and surpassed their totals from last year. The seventh grade squad continued its win streak and will be challenged to continue it next year -- the group has climbed the top of the podium as champions for the past five seasons.
 
The fourth grade Pioneers started the championship run and easily were the best team in their age group. Their score was second only to the eighth graders' total points.
 
“Our girls were great all year. From the first practice to the final cheer, I couldn’t be happier and more proud of all we accomplished this year," said Dombrowski. "We have great coaches from the moms, who give their time as coaches, to the junior coaches who work with our girls and give their time to make this as fun as possible 
while also teaching them. It was just a great year from everyone.” 
 
The Pioneers will enter a new league next season and with the move comes new challenges. 
 
Now hitting its stride, the Pioneers program looks to continue the exceptional instruction it provides to boys and girls. This is a youth program that knows the value of teaching and fair play, and how to win the right way. With its solid parental and coaching foundation now in place, the Orland Park Pioneers football and cheer programs are set to excel.
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule